Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 224

Ruslan Linkov, the aide to murdered State Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova, who himself was severely wounded in the shooting attack last month, has given interviews to several media outlets. Linkov, who is still being treated in the hospital for gunshot wounds to the head and neck, told the newspaper “Segodnya” that one of the two attackers stood over Starovoitova’s body and said “Dobei gadinu”–roughly translated as “Finish off the rat.” The newspaper quoted Linkov as saying: “Later, in the hospital, I thought a lot about those words. It all looks quite unlike a typical contract killing, when the killers act precisely, and with cold calculation” (Segodnya, December 4).

According to another newspaper, investigators are now considering the possibility that the killers may not have be experienced professionals. “Moskovsky komsomolets” (M-K) reported yesterday (Thursday, December 3) that the killers did not drop their weapons exactly at the scene of the shooting–as is the case with most professional “hits”–but instead near the entrance to Starovoitova’s apartment building. According to M-K, the killers’ getaway car was also “waiting for them too far from the apartment building–they had to run several dozen meters.” The newspaper reported that investigators “tend to believe that members of some small extremist group might have had something to do with the assassination.”

The name of Ruslan Kolyak, a television producer and co-owner of two private security firms in St. Petersburg, has also been raised in connection with Starovoitova’s murder. The St. Petersburg police are now looking for Kolyak, who, according to some reports, is a leader of the Tambovskaya group, the city’s most powerful criminal organization. Kolyak gave an interview recently to NTV in which he said that local criminals had nothing to do with the killing. M-K, citing unnamed sources, reported that Kolyak had been a partner of Dmitri Rozhdestvensky, the head of the Russian Video Company, who was arrested in September for tax evasion. According to the paper, Rozhdestvensky kept in touch with Linkov and knew the timetable of his and Starovoitova’s comings and goings, and about their financial operations. Kolyak, M-K claimed, “must have been chosen for the role of scapegoat” (Moskovsky komsomolets, December 3).